5X Fest

Revisiting the 2019 5X Fest art party

Monika Sidhu (@MonikaSidhuu)

It’s been two years since 5X Fest was able to bring South Asian arts and culture to the Lower Mainland in an in-person format and the dope events that came with it. 

If you’re missing the feel of being out in a festival, don’t worry, we somewhat got you. 5X Press is recapping our 2019 beloved art party to get you ready and in the mood for something that could be on the horizon for this fall. 

Featuring 13 South Asian artists and their work, 5X teamed up with the Don't Doze Art Collective to reach out to some trailblazers in the arts scene. 

Names like Anu Chouhan aka Anumation, Taran Cheema aka TKC Designs, Jessie Sohpaul and Sandeep Johal among many others had their work admired by attendees. 

TKC Design mannequin Image via Flying Beard

The space included paintings, prints, fashion shows, mannequins as models; it was all art, fashion and vibes. 

Executive Director of 5X Fest, Tarun Nayar, said having an event like this in the Lower Mainland is important to help bring the community together. 

“There aren't a whole lot of places for us to get together like this in Surrey or Vancouver. And I really believe in the importance of physically coming together - it creates connections and synergies that are just different than those that happen online,” said Nayar. 

This wasn’t the first art party either; in 2018 5X held its first party, which Nayar described as just much fun, “both the 2018 and 2019 versions of the art party were LIT,” he said. 

“They were both jammed with a healthy dose of creative chaos.”

By Jessie Sohpaul

All the artists brought out some of their best and 5X Fest GM and host of Brown Girl Guilt Harpo Mander remembers what it felt like to be part of it all as an onlooker. She wasn’t working with 5X Fest at the time, but she was excited to be part of the cultural movement. 

“I heard a bunch of dope creatives and artists were linking for an art party where they could show off their art, see other art, and just network and I just knew I had to be there. It really felt like, if I didn't go, I'd be missing out on something epic,” said Mander. 

She recalls going to the art party on her own and not knowing many of the artists.

“I spent most of that art party alone that night and although I could've gotten awkward and left, what kept me anchored there was the energy in the room.”

She said attending the event had her in awe--growing up she felt like South Asian creatives seemed like a farfetched idea, distant, even; something she only saw on TV or heard via the radio but not something she could actually reach out and feel and be immersed in. 

Mander remembers enjoying the fashion show held by stylist and creative director Amneet, especially for the diversity in body image that it allowed for, “It was so incredible to see so many South Asian women with different body types, heights, hair styles, and energies rock really powerful, bold black suits.”

Amneet's fashion show

Another noteworthy piece from the 5X Fest art party was the auxiliary gallery put on by Ricky and Rajan from Don’t Doze held at Beaumont. It was something Mander was also super excited to see: how would they change up the space?

Pretty damn well, she concluded. “It’s safe to say that what they ended up doing to the space was dope! They painted one wall of the art gallery completely hot pink and it was such an Instagram hit,” she said.

Above all, the art party was a chance to display the collective beauty of the South Asian arts and culture scene. It was an opportunity to feel not so distant from the creatives within the community and realize that this scene is taking up space in our own backyards.

“It felt like everyone, from the organizers, the artists, to the attendees shared a unified vision for the kind of art we all want to make, the stories we want to tell, and the home that holds all that art and those stories. That unified vision left me in so much awe and that art party is really the reason I even wanted to become a part of 5X.”


Monika Sidhu is a freelance journalist based out of Brampton,ON. She loves covering all things arts and culture and enjoys telling untold stories coming out of her community. Monika recently graduated from Western University receiving a Master’s of Media in Journalism and Communication. In her off-time, you can find her discovering new music, spending time with her dogs or hiding the fact that she is binging reality tv shows.

5X Press is a forum for opinions, conversations, & experiences, powered by South Asian youth. The views expressed here are not representative of those of 5X Festival.

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